New Gift Trends Expand Valentine’s Day Sales Potential
Valentine’s Day has been recognized as a celebration of romance since the 17th century, and by the middle of the 18th century it was common for lovers, and even friends, to exchange notes proclaiming their feelings, as well as small tokens of affection.
Today, Valentine’s Day is a multibillion dollar gifting event. Forbes reported more than $19.7 billion was spent on the holiday in 2016, even more than was spent by consumers on preparations and merchandise for Super Bowl 50 just a week prior.
And while there are still plenty of dollars aimed towards candy, flowers, jewelry and cards, new markets and new recipients are driving purchases in nontraditional directions.
New Ways to Show Your Love
Modern Valentine’s Day celebrants are taking the traditional dinner and a movie to the next level. In a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, 24 percent of those asked planned to gift an experience, such as getaways, art and cooking classes, spa days, and concert tickets. And when asked if they would like to receive an experienced-based gift, almost 40 percent answered yes.
Baby boomers and Generation X consumers still honor their significant others on Valentine’s Day, but the most prolific group participating in the holiday are millennials. Close to 45 percent of millennials planned to give gifts in 2015, compared to 39 percent of Generation X consumers and 38 percent of baby boomers. Hand in hand with this bump in younger consumers is a trend toward gifts more in line with their preferences. Signs from social media indicate more of the 18-25 group are hoping for, and purchasing, handmade items. In 2015, #Etsy and #handmade were among the top 15 trending hashtags used the week prior to Valentine’s Day.
Buying Beyond Romance
Valentine’s Day is no longer only about your sweetheart. While men tend to spend more on gifts for the holiday — on average between $110 and $150 vs. women’s predicted spend of around $80 — women tend to gift to more than just their significant other. Of 600 women surveyed by Influence Central, 69 percent anticipated purchasing Valentine’s Day gifts for their kids. Gift givers are buying presents for other important people in their lives as well, such as family members, teachers and friends. Roughly $28 per gift giver is spent on recipients other than their spouse or partner.
However, the largest group of nontraditional gift recipients on Feb. 14 are our pets. With nearly $700 million spent on Valentine’s Day gifts for pets, our furry friends clearly have a sizeable chunk of our hearts and wallets. It’s only a small portion of the nearly $60 billion spent on pets in the U.S. in 2015, but it’s a significant opportunity for retailers looking for a boost in sales after the post-Christmas slump.
Traditional Valentine’s Day gifts still dominate market share when it comes to what we buy for the loved ones in our lives. However, new and interesting markets are opening up as the numbers and types of gift recipients increase. This new era of gifting reflects back to the original intent of a Valentine’s Day present — a thoughtful token of affection for the people in our lives that we love and appreciate the most.
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